A seventh faculty association has issued a vote of no confidence in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven Rosenstone. 

Faculty at Metropolitan State passed the vote Thursday, following in the footsteps of MnSCU's other six universities — Mankato, Bemidji, Marshall, Winona and St. Cloud faculty issued their own votes earlier this fall. 

The groups are all part of the Inter Faculty Organization, one of two unions to recently withdraw from participation in Rosenstone’s plan to overhaul system operations. Combined, the unions represent more than 8,000 people, including faculty at South Central College.

They claim their concerns about the plan have been ignored. Last June, the Inter Faculty Organization sent a bill of particulars about Rosenstone's failings to the MnSCU Board of Trustees but did not receive a positive response, said IFO action coordinator Monte Bute in a statement. 

"The Board of Trustees brushed aside those faculty concerns and gave the chancellor a glowing job review," he said. "When trustees failed to take our concerns seriously, it precipitated this series of no-confidence votes on the seven campuses."

The unions have expressed concerns about trust and transparency, saying they are upset Rosenstone was not more upfront about paying the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. $2 million to continue work on the plan — called Charting the Future — while campuses all over the state are struggling to cope with budget shortfalls. The same company is known for touting the practice of replacing full-time faculty with temporary instructors as a means of increasing productivity. 

"His neglect of students, lack of transparency, lack of respect for the bargaining process and mismanagement of MnSCU is unacceptable," said Matt Filner, vice president of the Metropolitan State faculty association in a statement. 

Student leaders at Metro State also have issued a no-confidence vote and so far represent the only student organization to do so. 

MnSCU officials continue to say they are disappointed in the faculty unions’ decision, saying it has put a halt to critical conversations about Charting the Future and "the change needed to ensure that affordable and accessible higher education remains a reality for all Minnesotans." 

They have encouraged faculty, students and staff to visit www.chartingthefuturemnscu.com and find out more about the plan themselves. The Inter Faculty Organization also has posted information about the plan — and its stance on it — online at www.ifo.org.

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Jessica here, doing some coffee-fueled reporting for the Mankato Free Press. My beat? Education, colleges, LEARNING. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments and story ideas.

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